BIPOC Mental Health Month
Raises Awareness of Resources, Challenges for BIPOC and QTBIPOC
A DCHS CONNECT FEATURE
July 2, 2021--July is BIPOC Mental Health Month, and DCHS is highlighting the importance of mental health awareness for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and queer and trans BIPOC (QTBIPOC).
While mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity, these factors can make access to mental health treatment more difficult and BIPOC are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for mental illnesses, have less access to mental health services, and often receive a poorer quality of care.
And, while chronic stress can have negative effects on everyone, pervasive exposure to racism and discrimination create additional daily stressors for BIPOC. The impact of racism-related events, chronic stress caused by institutional and socio-political inequities, and daily exposure to racism through micro-aggressions is significantly associated with higher risk factors related to poorer mental and physical health, depression and substance misuse.
BIPOC Mental Health Month draws attention to the importance of taking on these challenges and the stigma of mental illness, particularly in communities where these problems are increased by less access to care, cultural stigma and lower quality care.
This year, Mental Health America (MHA) is highlighting alternative mental health supports created by and for BIPOC and QTBIPOC communities of color, including community care, self-care and culturally based practices. These community-developed systems of support fill in gaps of traditional systems that may overlook cultural and historical factors that impede BIPOC and QTBIPOC mental health. Learn more.
DCHS is committed to identifying and eliminating disparities stemming from racism that negatively affect clients and the community and embedding race and social equity in policies, programs and practices to reduce and eliminate barriers, disparities and inequities and to create conditions in which all Alexandrians can participate, prosper and reach their full protentional.
During the month, DCHS is sharing ways for Alexandrians to learn more about BIPOC mental health, help raise awareness and access and share online resources including:
- Race Based Trauma Resources and Support in Times of Civil Strife. To help residents confront and deal with the effects of race-based trauma, the DCHS Racial Equity Core Team and Alexandria’s trauma-informed community network, Resilience Alexandria: Inform. Support. Elevate., maintain a growing collection of resources related to coping with racism and trauma on individual, interpersonal/family, community and national/global levels.
- Multicultural Mental Health Resources. This collection includes Spanish language materials, resources for addressing emotional and psychological needs in the LGBTQ community, and resources for immigrants and refugees.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call or the 24/7 PRS CrisisLink Hotline at 703.527.4077 or Text "connect" to 855-11. For TTY, please dial 7-1-1. Residents can also call DCHS Emergency Services at 703.746.3401.